Thankfully, there's very little explaining here of what makes Lemmy Kilmister's music---mainly as the frontman of Motrhead for several decades---so transporting. (You either feel his churning bass lines in your stomach, a perfect blend of metal and punk, or you don't, and accept our condolences.) Lemmy, the result of three years of trailing the man with a camera through concert halls and his preferred grungy L.A. environs, meanders in a very different way from his band's two-minute songs. The first few scenes alone offer a beautifully odd portrait of a 65-year-old rock god, frying potatoes in his smallish rent-stabilized apartment, ambling down to Amoeba Records to buy a Beatles box set, and dominating a trivia game's high-score list at the Rainbow Bar and Grill.
Gush is left to a trove of celebrity fans, everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica's James Hetfield to tattoo artist Kat Von D. What emerges, carefully, is a history of Kilmister's iconoclastic pose, neck strained upward toward the mike, as well as a gentle profile in British modesty, the subject digging thoughtfully into his own drug-fueled past. (Unmarried and happy to be alone, he's also a brainy collector of German war memorabilia.) Ultimately, Lemmy stands as a snapshot as sui generis as Crumb: The man's job is simply to be Lemmy, leather-clad and fearsome, and all that entails. It's a quietly witty film, much like the dude himself.